The urban lifestyle has always been a hive of activity in the world of hip-hop culture. First there is the visually arresting images of graffiti, then there is the hypnotic rotation of turntables. You can't forget the acrobatic display of b-boys or the oral expression of MCing.
The lyricist or the MC has long been the center of attention in the sub-culture of underground hip-hop. There are often many questions about who is the best lyricist or who can beat who in a battle. The topic of discussion also centers on who's new record is wack, and who's new record is heat, or which newcomers sound good and shows promise. Lyrics, delivery and production all play key roles in judging the quality of underground hip-hop. Noncommercial rap has always had more poetic value than its corporate under produced counterpart.
This week we focus our attention on one of the main issues plaguing the black community, mass incarceration. After President Linden Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act and The Civil Rights Act in the late 1960's, we have seen the explosion of black male incarceration. This is what author Michelle Alexander refers to as the New Jim Crow in her book of the same title. Most black men that are currently in prison are there for non-violent offenses. Over the years mandatory minimum sentencing laws have herded an exceptional amount of black men into prison slavery. Most of the nations prisons are privately owned for profit businesses that lock up black men for no other reason but to make money. Lots of these prisons are publicly traded on The Stock Market. This is 21st century slavery.
Napoleon Da Legend tackles this issue in his very timely "Mass Incarceration".